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REF NO.: 165

SUBJECT: Determined student begins to forge a career in social work
DATE: May 27, 2003

Nancy Marche first became interested in social work as a career when she was doing a work term for her business administration diploma at the Newfoundland Career Academy. She was placed at the Miller Centre in the former drug dependency library, where she had the opportunity to interact with social workers in the field of addiction. "I was just 19 and they would joke with me and say 'don't be a social worker.' But I knew they loved their jobs and I became intrigued with the profession."

Ms. Marche enrolled in general studies at Memorial in 1996, and the following year went to London, Ontario, where her husband was doing a master's degree. It was then that she started taking social work courses and knew she'd found her career. On May 28, Ms. March will graduate with her Bachelor of Social Work degree.

In 1999 the couple moved back to St. John's where Nancy again enrolled in university and applied to the School of Social Work. Her first placement was with Health and Community Services in the area of international adoptions, adoptions and foster care. She did resource work to provide support to caregivers and provide training for international adoptions. Her placement last semester was with Child, Youth and Family Services, working in the area of long term protection. That's the area she'd like to work in, if and when a job becomes available.

While she was earning her degree, Ms. Marche faced an obstacle most students don't. Since age nine she has suffered from iritis, a periodic inflammation of the coloured portion of the eye. During flare-ups, it can cause extreme pain and light sensitivity. "When I get a flare-up I have to take steroids, or sometimes it can be treated with drops. Flare-ups are brought on by acute stress, reading a lot, or looking too long at a computer screen."

Dealing with this illness has taught Ms. Marche the value of preventing eye strain by taking a break from studying or computer work every half hour to relax her eyes, and managing stress with hobbies such as gardening.

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